Car accidents take a terrible toll on children. For children under age 15, the most common cause of death is unintentional injury and the most common cause of unintentional injury is vehicle accidents.
A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that between 2010 and 2014:
- 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents.
- Most of them were not wearing seatbelts or were unrestrained or improperly restrained.
- 15% were sitting inappropriately in the front seat.
- 13% were killed in cars where the driver was operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
The analysis showed considerable differences by state. Indiana experienced 1.10 deaths per 100,000 children; Massachusetts came in lowest at 0.25; at the highest end of the scale, Mississippi clocked in at 3.23 deaths per 100,000 children.
Child Car Seats and Seat Belts Can Save Lives
What do these alarming numbers demonstrate? That most of the deaths of children in auto accidents are preventable!
The study shows that improperly restrained or unrestrained children are dying needlessly in tragic car accidents. Using car seats and seat belts consistently and correctly is key in lowering the number of our young people who are killed every day.
Indiana's comprehensive child passenger safety laws require that all children under age 8 be properly restrained in a federally approved system. This can include a belt positioning booster seat. Between ages 8 and 16, children must be either in a child restraint or wearing a seat belt - even in the back seat. Here is a quick overview of child car restraint regulations:
- Birth to 12 months: Child should be in a rear-facing car seat.
- 1 to 3 years: Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until reaching the maximum height or weight limit for the car seat, then move to a front facing car seat.
- 4 to 7 years: Keep your child in a car seat with a harness until reaching the maximum height or weight for the car seat, then move to a booster seat but always in the back seat.
- 8 to 12 years: Your child is ready for a seat belt when the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs - not the stomach. The shoulder belt should not cross the neck or face. Keep your child in the back seat for safety.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute offers a valuable service where families and caregivers can have their child restraint installation inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician. The consult is free. You can find the nearest inspection station to you here.
Let Us Help If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident or other type of vehicle accident or personal injury, please call the Sevenish Law Firm immediately. Our experienced attorneys will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Randall Sevenish, personal injury attorney in Indianapolis, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 800-278-9200.